The Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) work incentive is a government program that has been around since the 1970s. If you’re a person with a disability, the Social Security Administration can help you apply for this incentive. In the meantime, it’s helpful to learn about it and how it works for you. It’s a brilliant way to save money for education or business expenses so you can advance your career. Here’s a quick guide to the PASS provision:
What is PASS?
The PASS work incentive is for individuals already receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or those who could qualify for SSI by setting aside income or resources, who want to increase their earnings and self-sufficiency through business or employment. It’s part of Social Security’s disability benefits program, so it’s not available for retirees 65 and older.
The goal of this work incentive is to help people succeed in their chosen careers to reduce or eliminate their need for cash benefits. To achieve that, the provision aids them in setting aside their income for items and services they need to reach their employment goal. Some things they may spend these funds on include:
- Vocational schools
- Seminars and training
- Job coaching and other support services
- Rent for commercial spaces
- Business equipment
The great thing about the provision is it’s flexible and individualized. The funds can be used for anything as long as they’re reasonable, and they can justify their need to achieve the goal they’ve established for themselves. Approvals are made by Social Security Administration personnel.
PASS Plan Requirements
Get a form SSA-545 from your Social Security office, or download it from their website to apply for the PASS plan. All you need to do is fill it out completely and give it to the SSA personnel.
But, before filling out the form, make sure you’re eligible for the program. Here are the requirements to qualify for PASS:
- Clear and achievable occupational goal
- Countable income (from SSDI, a business, or a job)
- A plan to set aside part of that countable income to pay for needed items
- Viable plan of action, with specific timeframes and milestones
- Resources necessary to achieve your goal
Your PASS Plan
You need to convince the PASS specialist that the goals you’ll be spending money on will eventually lessen your dependency on SSI. You can only do it by showing them a viable plan on how you’ll accomplish your objective.
Some sections in the PASS form ask you to jot down the steps you’ll take. Social Security wants to see if you’ve thought your plan through and if you have reasonable chances of achieving your goal based on the milestones you’ve written. Don’t get intimidated by this because a specialist will work with you in revising your plan until all requirements are met.
How Does It Work?
Once approved, the beneficiary has to set aside money from their SSDI benefit or a portion of their countable income from wages. The savings aren’t counted as income or resources, and so they don’t reduce an individual’s monthly cash payments. They also don’t affect eligibility for any other federal means-tested program, so SNAP or HUD subsidy recipients are still qualified to accept their benefits.
If you’re interested in applying for this work incentive, talk to the right Ticket to Work Provider today. They can walk you through the process and even help you set up your PASS. Contact DisABLEd Workers for more information at 1-877-291-9806.